ONE of Camden’s most high-profile Liberal Democrats admitstthis Christmas Eve morning that members have ‘wondered’ about their future with the party. The never-not-animated Alexis Rowell – ex-councillor and Camden’s former ‘Eco-Champion’, a role thatrightly or wrongly no longer exists – says it in a letter to The Guardian. Talking about Vince Cable’s cringeworthy bitching about the Conservative to undercover Daily Tel journalists, he includes this line:
….some of the concerns he voiced may provide a few crumbs of comfort for those of us wondering about our future in the Lib Dems.
Ask his former colleagues at Camden Town Hall, Alexis isn’t the kind of guy who will just lap up whatever those in the top roles say. He can be awkward and demanding, a pest to those unclear on how to best harness his enthusiasm and energy. Whispers have it that he once made a leap for the group leadership in Camden, proposing a radical, environmentally-focussed alternative to the way the Lib Dems were working. It was a step too far for even some of his most ardent admirers. His pointy letter suggests he isn’t completely sold on Lib Dem and Tory relations.
The backdrop to this upheaval has been the threat of cuts in public spending greater than anything Mrs Thatcher proposed or would have dared to propose. Many of us on the outside have been in shock these last few months. We wanted to believe that our representatives in government knew what they were doing. Of course, coalition politics means compromise, but how could it be that our leaders didn’t seem to understand the dangers that this coalition’s policies pose to the very fabric of our society?
So now we know. St Vince understood the risks. It’s just that he couldn’t do much about them. And now, his wings clipped, he can do even less. The rest of us must draw our own sobering conclusions.